With the advent of new technologies, virtual meetings are becoming increasingly popular in project management. However, the rules for conducting a meeting in person should be revised to make the virtual meeting more effective.
Project managers are expected to apply new skills that incorporate the use of technology so that those present will be attentive and engaged. It’s difficult enough to run a meeting where all the participants are in the room, but oftentimes team members are taking part in the meeting from a remote location by phone or computer.
The basic guidelines for running a project management meeting remain the same. Relevant people should be invited, objectives should be defined, and the meeting should be started on time. However, the technology itself calls for a few added rules to be followed.
Some basic ground rules might include, logging in 10 minutes before the meeting, stating your name when you speak and avoiding multitasking by turning off cell phones and staying out of email.
It’s always a good idea to send out pertinent information before the meeting, but with virtual meetings this practice is even more crucial. Information should include items that need prior review, an agenda, ground rules, and technical instructions. Project management team members need to know when it’s okay to hit the mute button, how to place the call on hold or how to log in to the meeting.
Also keep in mind is that the nonverbal clues most project managers are accustomed to will be absent. You won’t necessarily know if participants understand or are even paying attention to what is being said. Because of this, the need to be clear and explicit becomes even more critical.